Let’s start at the beginning and look at some of the important building blocks for every woman’s diet during pregnancy and while breastfeeding to help support positive brain health of their babies.
- Folic acid is a B vitamin important for healthy cells. Diets with adequate folic acid may reduce a woman’s risk of having a child with a brain or spinal birth defect.
- Calcium with vitamin D is essential for infant development and for the long-term health of the mother. Vitamin D helps the body absorb and retain calcium. Consuming plenty of calcium with vitamin D during pregnancy promotes strong bones and teeth. It also supports a healthy heart, nerves and muscles for the baby. Adequate maternal calcium intake ensures that enough is available to meet the needs of both mother and baby.
- DHA omega-3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid important for brain, eye and heart health. A diet rich in DHA during pregnancy and breastfeeding may play a role in supporting healthy pregnancies, helping a mother’s emotional well-being after birth and aiding the mental and visual development of infants.
Women can get the “Big 3” nutrients through a well-balanced diet. Moms pass these important nutrients along to their developing infants via the placenta during pregnancy and through breast milk after birth.
Women know the importance of folic acid and calcium with vitamin D, but many are not familiar with DHA omega-3. However, scientific evidence demonstrates that DHA omega-3 is an important building block of perinatal nutrition.